LOOK YOU ~ a rolling scrapbook of life, the universe and nearly everything...
ARCHIVE 2015 - JANUARY

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POSTCARDS FROM
MY SQUARE MILE
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Updated: 11/08/2013

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for a taste of life on the wild side of my square mile, click...

400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 08/06/2013



                                                                                        Design: Yosida

 
                                                                 ♫♫♫ TO SELF                            
It seems that the artist Leonardo da Vinci kept a notebook, Notes to Self, a list of “things to do today”: buy paper; charcoal; chalk ... describe tongue of woodpecker and jaw of crocodile...
     These are my Notes to Self, a daily record of the things that make me smile and which brighten up my day no end, whether read in a newspaper, seen on TV, heard on the radio, told in the pub, spotted in the supermarket, a good joke, a great story, a funny cartoon, a film clip, an eye-catching picture, a memorable song, something startling that nevertheless generates a spontaneous smile, curiosities spotted along my walks through the Towy Valley...
     This is a snapshot of life beyond the blue horizon...

    
                                                                               ...and everyday a doolally smile of the day
PS: The shortest distance between two people is a smile ...
                                                                             
Contact Me
 
Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Close encounters of the ball kind

ONE OF the ‘Close encounters of the curious kind’ featured over the previous three days highlighted the various sorts of balls I find washed up on the Towy Valley fields following a flood.

So I had a look through my picture files...

Ah yes, I remember one incident particularly well. Actually it’s all of eight years ago. I’d found a football in the valley and I was carrying it home, when I crossed a field where some young White Park cattle were minding their own business.

So out of idle curiosity I kicked the ball towards them.

After a bit of alarm, hesitation and uncertainty they cautiously approached the ball ... and quickly entered into the spirit of the game ― with a vengeance...

Keep your eye on the ball

Dinefwr’s White Park cattle keen to find the back of the net

Ref!

The cattle got so aggressive over possession of the ball that I hurriedly backed away to a safe distance ― where I took a few photos, in particular the one above.

The one thing you can say with complete confidence is, that no player would ever take ‘a dive’ when playing against the White Park First XI.

Touchdown

Sticking with balls, tomorrow, Sunday, American Football’s NFL Super Bowl XLIX takes place ― the Roman numerals are there to make it look more butch and gladiatorial, apparently.

It is considered by some to be an unofficial American national holiday; indeed the four most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history are Super Bowls.

Just as important is the showbiz razzle-dazzle that surrounds the event, especially the halftime show. Probably the most famous being Nipplegate, Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”, when her breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed for a split-second ― and the sky duly fell in on America.

Also, what generates much interest these days are the ad breaks during the live broadcast. A 30-second slot costs the advertiser a staggering $4.5 million (some three million quid in UK dosh). Imagine a shed load of John Lewis-type Christmas ads coming at you from all angles.

No wonder a great deal of effort goes into making the commercials so memorable and watchable (they are available to view online).

The following image has been all over the shop over recent days...

Natural-born quarterback pussycat

Cute kittens ‘play’ American football during the filming of Hallmark Channel’s
Super Bowl themed ‘Kitten Bowl II’

Last meow

“Try saying ‘Whale oil beef hooked’ without sounding like Terry Wogan after a few drinks too many.” Entertainer Jack Dee (slightly paraphrased ― Jack actually said “without sounding like an Oirish man swearing”, but I always find it’s better to personalise these things because, well, the next time you see Wogan, the first thing that’ll go through your mind ...).
                                                              
Home


Friday, January 30th

Close encounters of the curious kind ~ 3

MY THIRD and final encounter with the weird and wonderful things spotted along my morning walks should really be labelled ‘intriguing’.

The other morning, as I neared the end of my walk, I exited Dinefwr Park & Castle Estate, through the main entrance to Newton House ― and headed downtown to pick up a morning paper.

As I passed a small park, to my left, located alongside the ambulance and fire brigade stations ― and opposite the police station ― something hanging on the fence railings of the park caught my eye, and I stopped to investigate ... it was an etching-type print, a drawing of said park...
 

STOP AND LOOK AROUND

CYMERWCH OLWG O’CH CWMPAS


It certainly made me smile ― so I took it down to inspect further ... printed across the top and bottom edge of the frame were the messages I’ve topped and tailed the image with (as you have probably guessed, the bottom line is a Welsh language version).

Anyway, I did indeed have a look around ... and I thought, hm, let’s see if I can put the print into proper context...
 


 

That’s the nearest I could get. Especially that lamp post within the goal itself.

Oh yes, the tower to the right stands in the grounds of the fire station ― I am pretty sure that it once housed the siren that called the town’s part-time firemen to action, before modern communications took over, that is. I must make enquiries to confirm that (Ivor the Search Engine couldn’t help).

Incidentally, and back with the print itself, the only identification on it was JS2015 ― or perhaps TS2015.

Whatever, it was certainly something different to spot along my walk ― and it did make me smile. I also presume that there are other similar efforts dotted about the town, but thus far I haven’t spotted any.

Addendum (02/02/2015): I have just established that the tower behind the fire station is a training facility, something you will find at every fire station ― every day a day at school, but rather obvious if I had put my mind in gear.
     Incidentally, the siren I mentioned would have been situated on the roof of the Old Market building in town, where the fire engine was housed, back in the day.

Last word

What else but, on this 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s funeral, a slightly paraphrased quote of his (the Great Man himself was actually talking about the family’s country home at Chartwell in Kent):

                      A day away from the Towy Valley is a day wasted

                                                                                                   
Home


Thursday, January 29th

Close encounters of the curious kind ~ 2

CONTINUING my encounters with the weird and wonderful spotted on my sunrise walks along the banks of the River Towy, I now come to the most regular off-beat findings of all: balls; and I mean a whole lot of balls.

Balls of all sizes, from tennis balls ... all the way up to footballs. Oh, and the occasional rugby ball.

Most astonishing of all are the tennis balls; to be precise, the extraordinary number of them.

I can only presume that somewhere up the lazy Towy river, or indeed one of its many tributaries and/or streams, there must be a tennis court ― perhaps private, or belonging to a school, or indeed a public court ― and that balls regularly end up in the water before finally being washed out onto the Towy Valley fields during floods.

For some years now I’ve been collecting many of the extraordinary range of balls I find. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them all ― perhaps build a pyramid and capture a picture for posterity.

But before I get to today’s feature, yesterday I mentioned that, as the flood water retreats, it leaves a ‘rubbish’ line, similar to a strandline on a beach.

Well, today I captured a photo of this land based strandline...

What do you think of the show so far?

 

So much of the stuff I spot gets trapped in this rubbish, especially all sorts of plastic containers. You can just about spot them up there, dotted all over the shop.

However, and apropos the weird and wonderful, just a couple of days ago, along the very length pictured above, I picked up the following...

New balls, please

 

There’s that ubiquitous tennis ball, and actually in perfect condition (ignore the bits and pieces of rubbish stuck to it); then there’s the red ball, again in excellent condition. And of course the bulb.

Again, I am always surprised at how often I find bulbs. Now I can understand perfectly why balls of all sorts end up in the river ― but light bulbs?

I can only guess that people must chuck fused bulbs into the river. Honestly, we truly are a doolally species.

And just to prove it...

Last word

A couple of clickbaits...

  “German judge defends rights of men to pee standing up”

Phew. I often have a pee along my sunrise walk, and thank goodness, I can now continue to do so standing up. Mind you, I do try and stick to the old gypsy maxim: “Never pee in the same place twice.”

And then this ― I know, I know, I shouldn’t smile:

  “Norweigian soldiers sent on ‘naked jog’ catch frostbite” 

Ouch. And snap to it, you ‘orrible lot!
                                                                                                                 Home
 


Wednesday, January 28th

Close encounters of the curious kind ~ 1

ALONG my oft mentioned daily sunrise walks through the Towy Valley, I regularly stand and stare and shoot all sorts of weird and wonderful things. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

For example, last Sunday I shared with you the eye-catching snap of Dinefwr Castle surrounded by that extraordinary scarf of mist trailing in the gentle breeze, not to mention the faint rainbow in the mist.

Over the next three days I will show you some of the more off-beat things encountered.

The Towy Valley is a flood plain. Curiously though, this winter, thus far anyway, and despite lots of rain, there has been no major flood. All the rain that we’ve had has sped through quite quickly, driven on by the high speed of this winter’s jet stream.

However, the river has burst its banks at certain places on a few occasions, and as a consequence parts of fields bordering the river have flooded.

What you then get, as the flood water retreats, is a ‘rubbish’ line, similar to a strandline on a beach: you know, the highest point the tide reaches and where it deposits all its flotsam and jetsam.

Back on the river bank, I am forever surprised at the things I find washed up following a flood.

A couple of years or so back I featured one particular picture ― and it is worth a repeat showing...

Flotsmiles and jetsmiles

Three Musketeers: Donald Duck, Foghorn Leghorn and Chilly Willy

All for one...

The above I collected following one particular flood. Actually, I still have them and they sit on a shelf just above my head. And yes, whenever I look at them ... (turns to look) ... they make me smile.

Actually, poor old Chilly Willy has a nasty case of chapped lips, which rather adds to his charms.

Oh yes, I mentioned the river’s strandline ― as it happens I placed The Three Musketeers (above) on such a line of washed up wood left high and dry on the field as the river retreated.

To be continued...

Last word

On Monday I detailed my encounter with Tesco’s
“Double Chocolate Hot Cross Bun 6Pack £1 – BOGOF! ― and its consequences apropos keeping my weight under control.

Well...

“I’m 12 stone but had to pay for excess luggage at the airport. The man next to me was 24 stone but his luggage was in order. Funny old world...?” David Gleghorn of Leeds in a letter to the Daily Mail.

The above made me smile XL because clearly the author, David Gleghorn, is related to my pal Foghorn Leghorn.

Home


Tuesday, January 27th

“ZEBRAS have stripes because they have no DNA, just a bar code.” Mike Seamer of Banbury, Oxfordshire, in a letter to the Daily Mail.

With that exceedingly smiley observation fresh in mind, I spotted some images where a couple of high-profile public figures duly entered the spirit of things ― “spirit”, “bar code”, see what I did there? Whatever...

Warning – celebrity zebras crossing

 

 
 

Actress Sienna Miller, 33, appears on America’s
The Daily Show to discuss her latest Oscar-
nominated films American Sniper and Foxcatcher

DJ Chris Evans, 48, putting on the Ritz to meet
the Duchess of Cornwall to discuss Radio 2’s
annual ‘500 words’ children’s story competition

 

While Sienna Miller does Mike Seamer’s joke proud, Chris Evans, in his “cor blimey” suit, rather proves that he’s a radio man at heart, where the pictures are so much better.

Mind you, wearing a “bar code” outfit is particularly apt in Chris’s case, albeit a melanin based suit, especially given his wild boozy days when at Radio 1.

These days, though, a thoroughly sober Chris does appear to be trapped inside an endless childhood ― note his boundless enthusiasm for the admirable ‘500 words’ project ― and then on his wireless show, what with his bells, whistles, claxons and canned cheering/applause, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot the join between him and occasional fellow-presenter, his young son Noah.

Last word


This, however, earns my smile of the day award...

“It’s nice to live a luxury life, but money’s not important,” claims former Playboy model Cathy Schmitz, 25, who fails to spot the link between luxury and money as she reveals why she fell for 82-year-old Austrian billionaire Richard Lugner.
 


Monday, January 26th


healthhappinessbalance.com/blog-jessie-gipe

The weigh in

AT 6ft and of medium build, my fighting weight is 12 stone. However, I hover around the 12½ mark, which the nurse at the health clinic tells me is just fine.

There again, I do have an exceedingly sweet tooth and I will often fudge and nudge up to 13 stone, sometimes beyond ― and then I will go on the 100% Guaranteed EL Diet (that’s the Eat Less diet).

Anyway, last Christmas Day morning, first thing, I happened to weigh myself: 12.12.

At 5 o’clock that afternoon I arrived home after an agreeable and jolly holiday interlude with the family, and out of interest stripped and stepped on the scales: 13.5!

The weigh out

By 5 o’clock the following morning, Boxing Day, having had neither a bite nor a drink over the previous 12 hours ― perfectly normal for me because I’m a high-tea man myself (no supper) ― and I was down to 13 stone exactly, where I remained, more or less, for the next week or so.

Imagine that: I’d taken on board half-a-stone’s worth of food and drink ― which duly converted itself into 2lbs of body fat. Astonishing.

Oh dear, on Boxing Day my fighting weight of 12 stone was but a fond memory.

As it happens, over the last week or so I have put on a few more pounds; but, being a natural-born caveman, I shall put off the diet until St David’s Day, March 1st, when I will have no more need of the extra fat to combat the winter weather (fingers crossed).

Hot, cross & weighlaid at Tesco

I have just paid a visit to Tesco where my eye was drawn to...

                                                                                   “Double Chocolate Hot Cross Bun 6Pack £1 – BOGOF!

Now come on, 12 for £1 ― bring it on, let’s indulge between now and EL Day, March 1 st...

 

Exhibit A

Tesco’s Double Chocolate Hot Cross Six-Pack

Bang! You’re dead

The above is the official Tesco promotion picture ― I mean, I really and truly did smile at that gloriously healthy wheat sheaf ... at 227 calories a bun?

Truth to tell, the buns are not quite my cup of tea ― a bit too rich, even for my sweet tooth, but I will  polish them off over the next few days, promise.

Actually, between you, me and the bathroom scales, when toasted they are not at all bad, rather moreish. Ssshh!

Last word

Given that the nation is slowly sinking under a tsunami of obesity, surely all senior Tesco executives and their bakers ― and while we’re at it, every senior banker, politician and lawyer (including Tony Blair and this Lord Chilcot fellow, for these two are now merely court jesters we have grown weary of) ― should be rounded up and sent to Botany Bay.

Or Coventry ... or wherever it is that enemies of the state are banished to these days.
 


Sunday, January 25th

Moments to stand and stare

TODAY I uploaded some pictures from my camera, a range of smiley and off-beat images captured over the past fortnight or so...

I was instantly whisked back to last weekend when we experienced the coldest few days of the winter thus far ― and another glorious example of the see-saw nature of January’s weather: a few days of exceptionally mild temperatures ... followed by a couple of days of typical winter weather ... followed by several days of spring-like conditions ... then a cold snap...

Last weekend, on a cold, frosty, slightly misty-ish, blue-sky sunrise, walking through the Towy Valley, as per usual, I was confronted by this wondrous scene...

Wrap up warm

Historic Dinefwr Castle at Llandeilo visibly shivers in the cold, misty, frosty sunrise
(and you can just about spot the very faint rainbow in the mist, extreme right)

Always listen to Mother

When I was but a pup and cold weather struck, my mother always insisted that I dress appropriately ― especially so a generous scarf wrapped around my neck.

Obviously Mother Nature dishes out the same advice because the mist that has wrapped itself around the castle as it shivers there on a limestone ridge looks exactly like a scarf trailing gently in the cold breeze.

Brilliant. Even my common or garden little camera has done the scene justice.

Last word

10.58am, Sunday, Radio Wales: “That’s the weather, now the latest from BBC travel ... everywhere is on the move, all accident and incident free; and on public transport, everything is currently running to time...”

I know it’s a quiet Sunday morning, but the thought that right across Wales, “everywhere is on the move ... everything is currently running to time”, deserves to be celebrated and promoted to joint smile of the day.
 


Saturday, January 24th

Casablanca revisited

Life imitates art

Paris attacks: French Parliament sings La Marseillaise  during tribute session in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings

HAVING just watched a clip of those French politicians singing their national anthem, it brought to mind that memorably eclectic and electric scene from Casablanca, where the German soldiers singing a patriotic song at Rick’s Café are drowned out by the clubbers delivering an emotion-packed rendition of La Marseillaise.

It is just one of an endless conveyor belt of scenes that sets the film apart from a roundup of the usual suspects: tight and witty script, memorable quotes, marvellous story backed up by great acting, beautifully filmed ― and all rounded off with humour by the only celluloid hero I would ever have wanted to be in real life, Captain Louis Renault.

As when the Germans force him to immediately close down the club: “How can you close me up?” asks Rick of Louis.

“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.”

And the croupier hands Louis a wad of cash: “Your winnings, Sir.”

“Oh, thank you very much ... Everybody out at once...”

Magic.

Such a gentleman is Louis, the definitive version of a Nogood Boyo: always on the make, forever chasing the girls, running with the hare and the hounds, blessed with an extraordinary turn of charm and wit ― next time you watch the film, concentrate on the words that tumble out of his mouth, indeed my guess is that he was the script writers’ favourite character.

But, when push comes to shove, Louis Renault’s heart is found in the right place. Phew!

Do you know, however much today’s film makers insist that sex, violence, bad language and mumbled dialogue are essential in the name of reality, Casablanca proves time and again how wrong they all are.

Last word


Here’s the relevant Casablanca YouTube  link to three minutes of pure cinematic magic.

Oh yes, in the comments section, I particularly enjoyed this...

Callum McCormick: I asked someone why they voted this clip down and they told me to “ASK MY WIFE!”.

                                                                               La Marseillaise - Casablanca
 


Friday, January 23rd

Spotted in The Daily Telegraph:

Panic: button

SIR – Who is going to tell Evan Davis, presenter of BBC TV’s Newsnight, to unbutton his jacket when he sits down?
Trees Fewster, Gomersal, West Yorkshire

As was pointed out in the comments section, you already have, Trees Fewster.

But that wasn’t the point of this thread of letters…

What’s in a name?

SIR – I was fascinated by the surname of one of your correspondents in Thursday’s paper ― Fewster.
     Apparently, it has origins as far back as the 12th century and means a woodworker. Even better, her first name is Trees.
     Can anyone beat this for originality?
Gillian Lambert, Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Wild suggestion  

SIR – Your correspondents Juno Hollyhock and Trees Fewster (Letters, January 17) should get together and run a garden centre.
Flora Wild, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Hm, Flora Wild being deliciously ironic there.

In the name of the...

SIR – There is a respected clergyman living near us whose surname is “Page-Turner”.
     As an organist, I have often thought of inviting him to assist me during a recital.
Paul Cheater, Dorchester, Dorset

Indeed, but you may well have heard of Morgan the Organ from Under Milk Wood, so beware of extending that invitation as you could well become known as Paul the Cheater.

Touch wood

SIR – On the Telegraph obituary pages I once saw the surname “Pine-Coffin”.
     I found myself wondering: “Was it?”
Hamish Grant, Buckland St Mary, Somerset

My contribution to this thread of memorable names was stumbled upon on the wireless the other evening, when I happened to catch the tail-end of a discussion with a female writer about her latest novel, The Lightning Tree.

And her name? Emily Woof. Brilliant.

Last word

“I think I’ve just bought the whole train.” Jeremy Clarkson, English broadcaster, journalist and entertaining all-purpose shit-stirrer, after paying £379 for a rail ticket to the North of England and back.

Gulp.
 


Thursday, January 22nd
“If God made everything, why do most things say ‘Made in China’ on them?” Julie Siddiqui, Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Britain on a recent Pause For Thought, searches for the profound answer to a question posed by her own young daughter.

Sadly, Julie never did elaborate on why most things are made in China. Mind you, I do remember being told that it is not the meek who shall inherit the Earth, but rather the ‘Yellow Race’ i.e. the Chinese.

As I have always maintained: be sure to be kind, patient and polite to the folk at your local Great Wall takeaway. After all, when the tanks roll in, the first place they will call at will be the takeaway, simply to find out who is on the list of those who have been terribly naughty, and those who have been exceedingly nice. You have been warned.

While
on the subject of young children and how best to keep them entertained, the film The Wizard of Oz  would seem a perfectly innocent place to go. But hang about, here’s a TV listing from the LA Times  in 1998:

“Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets, and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.”

Would you want your children to watch this stuff? Brilliant.

“Staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.” Jessie Gallan, 109-year-old Scotswoman on her secret for a long life.

At least it makes a change from the “No smokin’, no drinkin’ and no cursin’,” as famously confided by the then oldest man in Britain, John Evans of Swansea, who died in 1990 aged 112.

“112? I don’t feel a day over 70!Gladys Hooper, shortly after celebrating her recent 112th birthday to become Britain’s current oldest person ― and looking surprisingly sharp. Oh, she has a son, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. So Gladys clearly decided not to stay away from men.

Last word

Talking of contradictions...

“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus* than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day. The housewife wears herself out marking time: she makes nothing, simply perpetuates the present.”
Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), French writer, The Second Sex (1949).

“There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.”
Quentin Crisp (1908-1999), English writer, The Naked Civil Servant (1968).

* Every day a day at school spot: The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back under its own weight. They had thought, with some reason, that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labour.

Yep, I’m with Quentin Crisp on this one. Incidentally, both writers born in the same year, 1908. Make of that what you will.
 


Wednesday, January 21st

A bad hair day in North Korea

 

Hot on the trail of yesterday’s YouTube Greta Garbo cigarette extravaganza – and all to the music of There Isn’t Any Limit To My Love – a smoking Kim Jong-un visits a newly-built children’s home and orphanage in Pyongyang.
     But wait ... he seems to have been photobombed by - well, a couple of smiley stuffed toys which appear to be merrily bonking away in the background. A very different kind of bedtime story.
     How wonderfully naughty. But oh dear, did heads roll?

Anyway, there can only be one response, another Sign Language special, compliments of a Telegraph reader...

 

Sign Language: A bad hair day in Norway

Spotted in Stavanger by Dave Harcombe

Last word

Yesterday, I also explored the clerihew, a whimsical, four-line biographical poem.

Along today’s morning walk I realised that I’d chickened out of having a go myself ― not that I am any sort of poet, you understand.

But, mother never bred a jibber.

Anyway, a reminder of the rules: Four lines / Rhyming couplets of AA, BB / A person’s name as its first line / Something to say about that person / The rhymes best forced / And it should make you smile.

So, here’s my strictly amateurish effort:

          Yours truly, that’s me, HB, ok?
          Can be found at lookyou.co.uk;
          A bottomless well of smiles of the day,
          Which all help to keep the doctor at bay.


I know, I know, I won’t be applying for the position of National Poet of Wales any day soon. But at least I threw in an internal rhyme within that first line ― there I go again ― which after all is something very Welsh and is clearly in my DNA.
 


Tuesday, January 20th

With rhyme and reason

PERUSING Rose Wild’s Feedback column from last Saturday’s Times ... it was rounded off with Poet’s Corner.

It was a brief discussion about the rights and wrongs of the clerihew: a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem’s subject, usually a famous person put in an absurd light. The rhyme scheme is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced.

This additional info from verse.org.uk:

Edmund Clerihew Bentley (ECB) was born in 1875 and supposedly devised the first clerihew while a schoolboy at St Paul’s School, Hammersmith.

The ground-breaking verse concerned Sir Humphrey Davy:

          Sir Humphrey Davy
          Abominated gravy.
          He lived in the odium
          Of having discovered Sodium.

With these four lines ECB set out the classic rules for a Clerihew, namely that it should have:

          Four lines
          Rhyming couplets of AA, BB
          A person’s name as its first line
          Something to say about that person
          And it should make you smile


Right, back with Rose Wild’s column:

Here’s the real thing [apropos clerihews] from John Chalmers:

“My mother was a keen collector of autographs and requested one from EC Bentley, who was an acquaintance of my grandfather. He wrote in her notebook:

          ‘This signature,
          If studied intently,
          Turns out to be that
          Of EC Bentley’.”

Well, that made me smile. As did this, again from verse.org.uk:

So if you’re tempted to write a Clerihew, don’t worry too much about the rules.  After all, ECB himself chopped and change the structure of his verses as it suited him. There’s no reason why you (or I) shouldn’t do the same.

And now, a final word on Clerihew:

          Edmund Clerihew Bentley
          Said: “I like my name immensely,
          But sometimes when I’ve had a few
          I call myself Edmund Bentley Clerihew”.

          By Mark Hoult

Last word

As I was perusing Rose Wild’s Feedback column, on the wireless I stopped and listened closely to what was obviously a really dated old song, one that I had never heard before: There Isn’t Any Limit To My Love.

It dates from 1936, features Ambrose and his Orchestra, with a gentleman called Jack Cooper on vocals.

I was instantly attracted to the catchiness of the song ― but most of all, the gloriously rhyming lyrics:

         

          There’s a limit to the silver in a spoon, The temperature in June, The glamour of the moon,
          But there isn’t any limit to my love for you.

          There’s a limit to the honey from a bee, The leaves upon a tree, The bottom of the sea,
          But there isn’t any limit to my love for you.

          A bird can fly in the sky, Just so high and no more,
          No more, no more

          A falling star can fall so far, Just so far and no more,
          No more, no more

          There’s a limit to the minutes in an hour, The colours in a flower, The raindrops in a shower,
          But there isn’t any limit to my love for you.


So fantastically simple and somewhat silly. Marvellous. And it made me smile.

Here a link to the song ― oh, and the accompanying YouTube video features some glorious film clips of Greta Garbo in her pomp and glory doing her very best “I DON’T vant to be alone” routine. Watch out for the sequence at the start with the cigarettes, LOL:

                                        There isn’t any limit to my love – Ambrose & Orchestra & Jack Cooper
 


Monday, January 19th

Sign Language: “Loo gotta be joking”

Spotted in China by Thomas Wilson
 

HERE’S A fascinating grab of a piece spotted in the Telegraph ― and let’s face it, any excuse to feature a few more Sign Language classics from the Telegraph’s  gallery is positively welcome.

Journalist Natalie Paris points us in the right direction...

                          
China to start ‘toilet revolution’

China announces campaign to improve and modernise its public loos following complaints from tourists

Chinese toilets are widely considered to be the pits. In many cases, they actually are a row of pits ... no cubicles, no doors, no privacy.

Going to a public toilet in China, especially one located at the side of a motorway, essentially means squatting above a trench while contributions from those at your elbows wash leisurely past beneath you.

Don’t look down and don’t make eye-contact are good rules for visiting travellers ― ones that the locals don’t always observe.

I have a friend who was offered a drag on a cigarette by the man squatting next to him in one public lavatory. Incidentally, the chap was also managing to read a newspaper spread across his knees at the same time...

Poostinks: The House at Poo Corner

In for a penny: a bog standard public loo in China

And it’s not just the sights and smells waiting to catch you out. You’ll also need sturdy thighs and a degree of core strength to make do without a seat.

But as China’s middle class grows and travels more widely, the country seems to have finally realised its bog standards leave much to be desired.

Following complaints from visitors, Beijing last week announced the start of a “revolootion” that should see the number of toilets at tourist sights rise, along with their quality...

A
s they say: I made my excuses and left...

Last word

Sign Language: Civility costs nothing

Spotted in China by Liz Ollier
 

Spell-cheque corner: ‘Poostinks’, my juvenile play on Poohsticks, came up as ‘Postings’, which appeals even more to my forever lurking childish gene.
 


Sunday, January 18th
 

Terms & Conditions apply

A BRACE of items in today’s Sunday Times  newspaper tickled my old funny bone no end.

The first was spotted in the Money section, in particular the Question Of Money column edited by Jill Insley: Each week, Question of Money helps Sunday Times readers resolve an array of tricky personal financial problems...”

I was quite taken aback by the circumstances surrounding the following curious problem...
 

THE GIFTS THAT M&S REFUSED TO EXCHANGE

I BOUGHT £1,200 of M&S vouchers to give to people at work as gifts. Many said they would never shop at M&S and asked for money instead. So, less than 24 hours later, I requested a refund from M&S and this was denied, so I called the M&S helpline and again my request was denied.

M&S is being disingenuous by not having a disclaimer up front to the effect that the purchaser may not claim a refund. I’ve spent a fortune on vouchers as quick fixes for Christmas gifts from M&S in the past. Never again.

JILL REPLIES: You bought vouchers in £100 and £200 denominations, so these were generous gifts. Even if M&S is not your colleagues’ favourite shop, surely they could spend the vouchers on food, or knickers and socks?

M&S says the no-refund policy is set out by the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association and is in line with the rest of the retail industry.

If you really cannot put the vouchers to use yourself, you could try to resell them through eBay or via the specialist website Cash 4 Vouchers, which pays as much as 70% of the face value.

I am really not sure what to make of that. While I admire the author’s generosity towards his or her colleagues, it would have been fascinating to know what sort of work these people do; also, why “they would never  shop at M&S”. Extraordinary.

Imagine, returning a generous gift voucher and asking for money instead. And what sort of people are they who declare that they would NEVER shop at M&S under any circumstances, even for free?

Perhaps they are nuclear submariners.

It is indeed a doolally word we live in.

Last word

Spotted in the Atticus column, edited by Roland White:

How the media works

When Stephen Fry, 57, announced his engagement to 27-year-old comedian Elliot Spencer, many anguished column inches were devoted to the age gap [“Would YOU marry someone half your age?” asked Mail Online] .

Jimmy Page, the Led Zeppelin guitarist, was also in the news last week. He is 71 and his girlfriend is 25. And how was this reported? “Jimmy still has Led in his pencil,” said The Sun.

A-ha
! The Sun always shines on a fun pun..
 


Saturday, January 17th

Sign Language: “The Last Supper”

Spotted in Hvar, Croatia by Peter Hulme

It was a VERY good year

In celebration of the above marvellously confusing and amusing sign, a recent thread of letters in The Daily Telegraph caught my eye:

Days ahead

SIR – In my twenties I would party all night long, and in my thirties we went to supper parties. When in my forties, dinner parties were enjoyed, and in my fifties I appreciated a long lunch with friends. Now in my sixties I have discovered the joy of a good breakfast out.
     Can anyone tell me what comes next?
Squadron Leader T J W Leyland (retd), London SW1

Well, here are some of the responses:

Three score years and ten and counting

“In his seventies, I think Squadron Leader Leyland will find himself experimenting with the best alcoholic drink to make the tablets go down.” John Henesy, Maidenhead, Berkshire


“Cream teas. I have recently enjoyed one to celebrate a friend’s 80th birthday.”
Jill Forrest, Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire

“Attendance at many funeral teas is what comes next.” Gerard Friel, Twickenham, Middlesex

“Sqd Ldr Leyland has much to look forward to in his seventies, including someone like me supplying him with Meals on Wheels. He should brace himself.” Zara Pradyer, Chessington, Surrey

“What comes next is a very long lie–in.” Nicholas Coates, London SW6


Final word

Before I come to my joint favourite response ― I enjoyed the Meals on Wheels ― yet another Sign Language gem to add a degree of flavour...

H2Ouch!

Spotted in China (?) by Lois Freeke

So, as to what Squadron Leader T J W Leyland (now probably tired as opposed to retd) can expect as he enters his Seventies ― well, this spotted in the online comments...

Stigenace:
Hospital food, and water left just out of reach.
 


Friday, January 16th


A cross cookie
zazzle.co.uk

Tailgated by the wrong sort of cookie

Carolyn Hitt, columnist for the Western Mail, tells a tale of being hijacked by an algorithm, that brainy cousin of the dreaded computer cookie.

Anyway, let’s allow Carolyn to deliver her starter for ten in her own fair words:

CLICKING on a link for a film called Nymphomaniac Volume 1  was always going to have consequences.

There I was on Netflix ― the on-demand internet TV and film-streaming service ― scrolling through its rather tiresomely laid-out interface when the cursor hit this deeply dodgy movie.

It was a mistake. Honest. I was in search of an undemanding rom-com. Or a sweeping historical epic. Or something with a young Al Pacino in it.

The last thing I wanted to watch was some pervy flick about a “self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who reveals a lifetime of sexual experiences” to Lars von Triers. Ach-y-fi  [that’s a Welsh YOL: YUCK OUT LOUD].

But, somehow, in attempting to move swiftly away from it, I must have clicked on it. And that was enough for the algorithm to get cracking.

For the technophobes among you, this is the process whereby websites collect data from your browsing habits [via those cookies] then pretend that, rather than a computer programme, they are your chirpy human online chum suggesting things you might like in a similar vein...

I know the feeling, Carolyn, of clicking on something you didn’t mean to and leaving a trail for that crumby cookie algorithm to sniff out.

But worst of all are those moments when I’ve been working on a Look You dispatch, and when I go to close the page I somehow or other, probably through not concentrating, accidentally click on the ‘Don’t save’ rather than the ‘Save’ ― and lose everything I’ve been working on during that session. Double dose of d’oh!

However, I have now learnt to regularly click on the ‘screen save’ button, especially if it involves some research which has taken up a bit of my time.

Be that as it may, Carolyn’s tale of being waylaid by an algorithm determined to shower her with an avalanche of suggestive things à la Nymphomaniac Volume 1, suggests that the word algorithm gives a whole new meaning to the expression ‘rhythm method’.

Anyway, her tale takes me back to December 23, when I was irresistibly drawn by an online clickbait:
“What to give the MILLIONAIRE in your life... ” ― and the headline went on to list a few extravagantly expensive gifts.

What was missing from the list of presents was something I’d noticed a week or so earlier on another website, a picture of a mega expensive gold clutch bag, so to get my facts right I instructed Ivor the Search Engine  to seek it out ― and I duly landed on a website selling said clutch...

Exhibit A

“Created for the first time in solid 18-carat yellow gold, the Crisp Packet clutch from Anya Hindmarsh is a wearable work of art that represents Anya’s fascination with making the everyday extraordinary...”

So here’s a reminder of the (slightly paraphrased) clickbait headline to include the above, and which found its way onto my little website back in December:

“What to give the MILLIONAIRE in your life: From a £63,000 iridium, personally engraved razor ... via a pair of £12,000 hand-woven 24-carat gold shoe laces ... to a £60,000 18ct yellow-gold ‘crisp packet’ clutch bag ... gifts for those special people in your life who have it all”

Now I am no online shopper, but since Christmas I’ve noticed that certain high-profile and ‘respectable’ websites I visit feature ‘in-built’ ads (as opposed to the pop-up variety) of exceedingly expensive products that the rich simply can’t live without.

Yes, the result of that one visit I made to that particular shopping website.

Mind you, these ads cheer me up no end. But if that algorithm only knew: when I visit the supermarket a regular port of call is the ‘reduced to clear’ bin where I invariably find something rather plummy and yummy at a throwaway price.

How satisfying, though, it is to confuse a too clever by half algorithm.

Last word

“Not since he died, no.” Veteran actor Sir Roger Moore, 87, when asked whether he kept in contact with his old pal Tony Curtis.

Lol, indeed.
 

Thursday, January 15th

  

A Golden Delicious a day...
 

“If you are eating an apple and there is no one there to see you eating the apple, is there any point in eating the apple?” English comedienne Sarah Millican.

That, is rather smiley. Indeed, shades of the old philosophical thought experiment regarding observation and reality: “If a tree falls in Castle Woods and I am not around to hear it, does it actually make a sound?”

In other words, does God always  shout “TIMBERRR! ... LOL! ?

Meanwhile, a letter in the Telegraph  tickles the old smileometer ― followed by a particularly telling response spotted in the comments section.

Not-so-horrible history

SIR – Our two privately educated daughters, both with 2:1 degrees, disagreed with my assertion that history is now only narrowly taught and is dumbed down.
     I challenged them with “Who was Joan of Arc?” The reply of “Noah’s wife” left me feeling I had won a hollow victory.
Richard Will, Middleton, Hampshire

Grizzly: If I had had two privately educated daughters (each with 2:1 degrees) then I would have been acutely embarrassed that they thought Joan of Arc was the wife of Noah
!
     I certainly would not have written to the newspaper to tell the world how much I had wasted on that private education; nor how I had failed to explain to them the basics of the historical knowledge that I am publicly professing to possess.

One Last Try: And when asked “Who burnt the cakes?”, they both said “not me”.


As you may well have observed,
Grizzly totally missed the point of a funny letter from Richard Will ― his daughters probably had a good laugh at their father
’s clever joke ― but One Last Try got it in one.

Where there’s a Will there’s clearly a witty way.

Last word

And on a similar theme, what with the UK’s Spring general election looming, yet another Telegraph  letter, with added comments:

To EU or not to EU?

SIR – I think I can trust Mr Cameron to promise to do something about the EU.
Graham Smith, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Bill Thomas: Graham Smith ― the man who clearly will believe anything.

Durnovaria: I think you, Bill (and maybe also the Telegraph) have misunderstood his letter. He trusts that Cameron will make a promise, not that it will be kept
.

Actually, I too had originally agreed with Bill Thomas ― until I read Durnovaria’s comment. Yes, I hadn’t properly read Graham Smith’s sentence. Another clever and witty letter, and yet more proof why I enjoy the Letters pages.

Oh, and my guess is that the Telegraph’s  editors had indeed properly read the letter.
 


Wednesday, January 14th

Sign Language: “You’re on your own”

Spotted at Schiphol Airport by Jenny Lloyd

Come fly with me

A tail-wind tale spotted in the Telegraph...

                    
Man enjoys a whole Delta plane to himself

Passenger thinks his dreams have come true when he boards to find an entire flight to himself

Chris O’Leary, from Brooklyn, thought his luck was in after long delays meant that all the other passengers on his January 12 flight from Cleveland to New York’s La Guardia Airport were moved onto other flights.

As he strapped himself to the Delta Air Lines plane he was thrilled with the thought that he might be about to experience the kind of a private-jet style pampering most of us can only ever dream of.

But his revelry was short-lived as, just as the plane was due to leave its stand for take off, another passenger was allowed to board. Even so, a sum total of two passengers on a plane built for 76 promised a comfortable flight.

Apparently O’Leary did not really talk to the other passenger, other than to say hello as he boarded: “He seemed to think it was less novel ... or he was really just looking forward to napping during the flight.”

Delta Air Lines confirmed that the plane took off with only two passengers because the aircraft was needed at LaGuardia airport for flights later in the day.

Great story.

As always, a quick scroll down the comments section just to see what’s what ...  and I come across a line that instantly upgrades the tale from a smile of the day to a lol of the day...

                                 grollies: I’d have sat next to him just to annoy him :-)

I really did laugh out loud at that thought. Probably because, oh, a good few weeks ago now, it was a wet start to the day and my daily sunrise walk was off. So I slipped into town to pick up a paper and a few bits and bobs for the larder.

So at half-seven I arrive at the local Co-op supermarket. There are a couple of cars parked at the front, near the entrance to the store, but I never park there anyway.

I move into the empty car park proper. As I come to a halt, another vehicle has followed me in ― and it parks right next to me.

So instead of being able to swing open the car door without a care in the world, I do so gently and carefully to make sure I don’t bang it against the car that has just pulled up right alongside.

Now something like this does not really  rattle my cage ― it just isn’t worth the stress ― but rather it simply confirms the doolallyness of the passing parade.

Mind you, as I got out of the car I was overwhelmed with the need to ask the driver why he had parked right alongside when he had all the vast open and empty spaces to choose from.

But I just hurried through the rain into the store.

Last word:

Towards the end of 2014, the Sony Pictures website suffered a cyber attack and as a consequence all that juicy and gossipy “classified” stuff was released for public consumption, not least that curious email from a surprisingly insecure George Clooney to his boss at Sony: “I fear I’ve let you all down and haven’t slept in 30 hours.”

Well, here’s a brace of letters saved from just before Christmas.

On December 22, this in The Times:

Coming soon...

Sir, The Sony imbroglio: cyberattack, weird dictator, vendetta, blackmail, capitulation.
     It has all the makings of a movie. Is somebody making it?
DR JOHN DOHERTY, Gweedore, Co Donegal

Well blow me, the following day, December 23, this in The Daily Telegraph:

Make believe

SIR – The Sony imbroglio ― cyber attack, weird dictator, vendetta, blackmail, capitulation ― has all the makings of a Hollywood movie. Is somebody making it?
DR JOHN DOHERTY, Vienna, Austria


Isn’t that fascinating? Precisely the same letter, from the same person, but one submitted from Co Donegal, the other from Austria. The Good Doctor certainly gets about.

Also, how differently the two newspapers have edited and punctuated the brief letter. (My guess is that, however brief, however well written and to-the-point a letter to a newspaper is, the sub-editors will change something, if only to show who is actually in charge.)

As a point of interest, I find the Telegraph  version easier to scan and read.

Oh yes, The Times  Letters page carries this notice: Letters to The Times must be exclusive.

Ho, ho, ho.

Finally, “imbroglio”: not a word I remember hearing in the Bible; definitely never heard it mentioned in dispatches in the Asterisk Bar down at the Crazy Horsepower Saloon: “a confusing, messy, or complicated situation, especially one that involves disagreement or intrigue”.
 


Tuesday, January 13th

 

Here’s lookin’ at you

“I AM glad you inherited one of my major attributes.” Message sent by the father of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, 43, after seeing The Pillow Book, a film in which his son was involved in a scene of full-frontal nudity.

I wonder if Ewan’s father later added: “My excuse is, that your grandmother ― my mother ― only had one arm and that’s how she used to lift me out of the bath. What’s yours?”

Which brings me neatly to the world of the kilt. A letter in The Daily Telegraph:

Wild oats

SIR – The cereal aisle in my local Sainsbury’s has a subsection flagged “Adult Cereals”. Does this mean that we discover what that Scotsman wears under his kilt or is it that bran and oats (jumbo or otherwise) come in fairly plain packaging?
Eleanor Saunders, Chessington, Surrey


I guess that’s better than “Cereal Adulterer”. Anyway, and pondering as to what is  actually worn under the kilt, this glorious clickbait...

Would you wear a kilt from Lidl?

 

Lidl and Larger?

Discount supermarket Lidl has introduced a range of Scottish Highland wear ahead of Burns night (January 25), including a £30 kilt.

 

Which raises that age old question: “Is anything worn under the kilt?” And as I’m sure both Ewan McGregor and his father would respond: “No, nothing is worn, everything is in perfect working order.”

While on the subject of supermarkets:

Helping the high street  

SIR – You report that Tesco is to close 43 of its stores. We are keen to revive our high streets and independent retailers; surely, every little helps.
Dr Bertie Dockerill, Shildon, Co Durham

Perhaps that last sentence should have read “surely, every Lidl helps”, no?

Final word

Another glorious Telegraph  letter:

Granny’s lore

SIR – My wife’s mother told our daughters: “If you run round the orchard too many times, you will end up with a crab apple.”
Richard Walford, Knowle, Devon
 


Monday, January 12th

Normal doolallyness now resumed...
 

Tweetie Pie Corner

  

Sugar turns sour on Twitter

“Evening sugar;) Can I call you that? Lol.” Elena Raouna, 23, a plus-size beauty queen, who won Miss British Beauty Curve in 2013, light-heartedly tweets a certain Lord Sugar, 67, English businessman, political advisor and mega media sleb. Fifteen-love, Elena.

However, the multi-millionaire tycoon, short on sweetness and light, replies:

“Yes, no problem as long as I can call you fatty.” Fifteen-all.

Elena Raouna, although happy to be called “Chubs”, demanded an apology from the businessman, saying she was “absolutely fuming” about the “cruel” tweet.

And the sky, unsurprisingly, fell on the head of Baron Sugar of Tate & Lyle Land. Thirty-fifteen.

Oh, and he rushed off to tell the Queen. Actually, I made that last bit up.

Anyway, Sugar’s response sparked a backlash in which he was roundly criticised and called a “cyber bully” and a “miserable old goat”. Forty-fifteen.

He later responded to another follower who waded into the row by asking whether there was “any need to reply in that manner”, by saying: “get stuffed and mind your own business tw..” Forty-thirty.

And so, the big debate...

        
Fat vs. Sugar

Fat, we were once led to believe, was exceedingly bad news for the health of the nation. Sugar, we now know, is the Nogood Boyo.

Alan ‘Barrow Boy Bully Boy’ Sugar’s bitter tweet to Elena ‘Chubs’ Raouna perfectly highlights the Jumbo with the rotten tusk lurking in the room.

Baron Sugar is described in Wikipedia as a ‘media celebrity’. Hm, when, precisely, did a seemingly natural-born tendency to treat people like something nasty spotted on the pavement become a much admired personality trait? Not so much a media sleb as a media slob.

Yes indeedy, Wellness Mama: Sugar really is that bad.

Game, set and match to Elena Raouna.

Last word

Listening to Sarah Cox filling in for Chris Evans on Radio 2 last Wednesday morning, she welcomed listeners thus: “We are reaching the hump of the week; I am here to help you get over it.” SOL (smile out loud) in Llandampness.

Actually, I was instantly transported back many, many moons to a bar in a faraway place (and yes, with a strange sounding name), where I serendipitously shared many a jolly jar with a multi-talented and entertaining broadcaster of that time. He was great company and clearly very much a ladies’ man, in the proper traditional sense that is.

And he shared with me this little gem: “At the start of my request programme [on the wireless] you will sometimes hear me begin with, ‘Well, here we go again---’ ― and a certain lady out there will smile because she knows that I am thinking of her.”

Between you, me and the bedpost, I think there were quite a few ‘ladies’ out there, smiling away.

Anyway, listening to the wireless has never been quite the same since. My radar is always switched on for those curiously coded messages.

So beware what you say, Sarah Cox. Some of us out here will put three and three together and come up with sex ― oops, six ― seven even, occasionally.

Spell-cheque corner: ‘Raouna’, as in Elena Raouna, Baron Sugar’s chubby friend, came up as ‘Around’, which is quite funny. Elena Around. The alternative suggestion the computer came up with was, ‘Rona’, which you would have thought should have been the first.
 


Sunday, January 11th

“I OFFER my condolences to the families and friends of those killed ―
the cartoonists, journalists and those who were trying to protect them.
They paid a very high price for exercising their comic liberty.
Very little seems very funny today.”

Ian Hislop, editor of British satirical magazine Private Eye, reacts to
the murders at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

A pause for thought

This website, Look You, is dedicated to the passing parade and those things which catch the eye, the ear and yes, the nose, and as a consequence make me smile.

Just occasionally, though, I will divert along the more tortuous route less travelled with an acknowledging nod and a word in the direction of those dreadful things human beings do to each other and which wipes that precious smile away in the blink of an eye or the firing of a gun.

Following the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and using the hashtag #jesuischarlie, artists from across the free world shared their powerful and satirical sketches on Twitter to campaign for a free press and to denounce violence.

Here are three that caught my eye... 
 

 

One of the most widely shared drawings was penned by The Canberra Times’ cartoonist David Pope (top right).
     Pens and pencils were also often drawn by the artists to represent the shooting’s victims, with some depicting sharpened pencils claiming retribution against their attackers (left): “Break one, thousand will rise”, a cartoon created by illustrator Lucile Clerc.
     Finally (bottom right): “And this is our gun”, an exceedingly clever message from the imagination of Chilean caricaturist Francisco J Olea.

 
 

The written word can, of course, be just as powerful as the cartoon. I was rather taken by this brief and very much to the point piece in the Telegraph, penned by Michael Deacon:

                                       Orwellian words of wisdom

George Orwell had the perfect riposte to the Charlie Hebdo killers

The day after the Charlie Hebdo murders, I happened to pick up a magazine (Intelligent Life) containing a list of George Orwell’s greatest aphorisms. Three instantly leapt out at me. First: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Second: “Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie.”

Those two lines were unnervingly pertinent. But even more so was the third, which was: “One defeats the fanatic precisely by not being a fanatic oneself.” A thought to keep hold of, any time we are encouraged to blame the terrorism in France on Muslims in general, or immigration, and are whipped up into hatred by opportunists with dangerous designs of their own.

The beauty of that final Orwellian dictum is that you can reduce it to its most basic. If you are being driven doolally by a member of the family, a colleague, a neighbour, the fellow down the pub ― the certain way to defeat them is to not reflect their bad behaviour but to rise above it all. Mind you, easier said than done and requires much application of mind over matter.

The one overwhelming pity following all the cartoons and all the words of wisdom and solidarity from around the globe, including the millions who turned out across France today to rally against terrorism ― not to mention that the next issue of Charlie Hebdo will print a million copies (normally circa 50,000) ― is that those who carried out the atrocities will never know the net result of their dastardly deeds.

Even worse, they will never know about all those phantom virgins waiting with baited  breaths. (Oh how easily we are fooled when it comes to sex.)

Final word

“In memory of my colleagues and friends from Charlie Hebdo”

Patrick Chappatte, a cartoonist for The International New York Times
 


Saturday, January 3rd  > > > > > > Saturday, 10th


Here I go, disappearing once more into my supply of Kit Kats...

                                           However, before I depart, I enjoyed this online comment:

Bill Thomas: Apropos not very much, (except our comments the day before yesterday about a banned word), I have just seen in my local French paper that the woman who promoted naturism in France has died at 103. Her name? Christiane Lecocq.

That tickled my old juvenile bone, especially the reference to the “banned word”. Yep, the clever and imaginative will always find a way round everything.

Incidentally, the author mentions “the day before yesterday”. Well, here in Welsh Wales we have just the one word for all that: “echdoe”. And also one word for “the day after tomorrow”: “drennydd”.

Every day a day at school.

Last word

Another missive from the Telegraph:

Some bright spark  

SIR – At the end of the broadcast of the giant New Year’s River Thames firework display, the BBC put up the caption: “This programme contains flashing images.” Well, I never.
Dave Alsop, Churchdown, Gloucester


Hm. I regularly wonder who actually warns the people being photographed about all those nasty “flashing lights”?

Spell-cheque corner: ‘Lecocq’, as in Christiane Lecocq, the always-in-the-pink French lady, came up as ‘Laycock’, followed by ‘Decoct’, ‘Loco’, ‘Pecok’ (Middle English for Peacock, I learn) ― and rounded off with ’Look’, probably as a tribute to ‘Look You’
!
 


Friday, January 2nd

Tee-hee, don’t phone home

HERE’S a perfect example as to why I enjoy collating these curious little things wot make me smile along my stroll through time.

This time, it all began, as it often does, with a couple of letters in The Daily Telegraph:

Silence by numbers

SIR – The elimination of mobile phone coverage black spots on trains would be double-edged.
     While I was travelling from London to Birmingham recently, a particularly loud passenger in the seat in front gave her phone number to the listener at the other end.
     I seized the opportunity, scribbled her number in the margin of my Telegraph and then texted her asking if she always shouted down the phone.
     It all went very quiet after that and I was able to peruse my paper in peace.
Cormac Mac Crann, Cranbrook, Kent

Darkest Warwickshire

SIR – I have no mobile reception at my Warwickshire home, but I spent four weeks in a remote hilltop town in Rwanda with five bars of signal.
Alice Roberts,
Kineton, Warwickshire

And then I was swept along on a thread of online comments:

The Central Scrutiniser: I live on top of a hill in Swanage on the south coast of Devon. I have to travel a couple of hundred yards up the road to get a mobile signal. I am currently in Barcelona, and I am enjoying five bars of signal strength everywhere I go in the city. Hurrah
!

One Last Try: Have they finished the Cathedral yet?


The Central Scrutiniser: No, I have a fine view of it from my bedroom window and it is still surrounded by cranes.

One Last Try: The crane is the national bird of Spain. You see them everywhere.

Surfaceman: Some things cannot be hurried
! Obviously that must now include Spanish as well as French builders ― but the result is usually worth the wait!

Thatlldo: Manyana, for sure.

Gizzee: Phonetically that’s correct. Type it into Google and you get a Birmingham brothel > > > > > > runs and hides...


Well, it goes without saying that I got Ivor the Search Engine  to do the dirty ... yes indeedy, Manyana Massage Parlour. However, I was rather taken with the address: 27 Oak Tree Lane, City Centre.

I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the phrase “from acorns grow mighty oaks”.

Well, Gizzee ran and hid. I made my excuses and departed in an orderly fashion...

Incidentally, I think I prefer ‘manyana’ to ‘mañana’. I rather like the phonetic way of writing (or “ffonetic”, if you’re Welsh ― “ffônetic” if you’re Welsh and  posh).

Last word

Up there, One Last Try mentions that the crane ― a wonderfully elegant bird, by the way ― is the national bird of Spain. Actually, Ivor the Search Engine  informs me that the national bird of Spain (unofficial status) is the Spanish Imperial Eagle. (Be that as it may, it should not take away from One Last Trys witty comment about the crane being the national bird of Spain.)

Well, here’s another letter from the Telegraph:

Bird flyin’ high, you know how I feel

SIR – Recently our local radio station broadcast an item about the nomination of a bird to represent Great Britain, as the eagle does the United States.
     My immediate thought was the great bustard. The initials ― GB ― would be easy for the public to recall.
     I would welcome other readers’ suggestions for an alternative.
Mike Elliott, Dore, Sheffield

Rile Bird-tannia

SIR – Mike Elliott asks for suggestions for a national bird for Britain.
     Surely the robin would be the obvious choice. It is friendly, can appear puffed up at times, enjoys spending time in the garden, but is brave and willing to fight to the death when its territory is threatened.
Frances Williams, Swindon, Wiltshire

SIR – Perhaps a budgie would be appropriate. These days most of the nation seems to spend its time tweeting, “who’s a pretty boy, then?”.
Elizabeth Davy, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria

Brilliant response from both Frances and Elizabeth. Actually, Wikipedia lists the European robin as the unofficial national bird of the United Kingdom. The European robin? Does Nigel Farage know about this?

Whatever, remember this from Christmas Day?

 


 


New Year’s Day

Honours uneven

A GOOGLE DOODLE, above, welcomes me into the new year. Incidentally, do you say twenty-fifteen or two-thousand-and-fifteen?

Whatever, there is no escaping the New Year’s Honours List detailing the great and the good of British society, those national treasures (sic) who wander in our midst.

I have never quite understood why honours get handed out willy-nilly to sports and music stars who are inherently blessed with a specific genetic talent and then go on to do something they enjoy whilst earning mega amounts of money. Why do they need to be rewarded twice, first by nature, and then by nurture?

Ditto actors, for heaven’s sakes, who spend their lives pretending to be other people; not to mention instructing politicians as to how the country, indeed the world, should be run.

“Curiouser and curiouser!” said yours truly (who was so much surprised, that for the moment he quite forgot how to speak good English ― and duly apologised to the ghost of Lewis Carroll).

On the subject of honours, I empathise with these Daily Telegraph  correspondents:

On the curious side of the street

SIR – Once again the New Year’s honours list contains names ranging from the bizarre to the loony. This is epitomised in the damehood given to the Poet Laureate.
     I don’t know how many poems she has written recently, but 2014 saw the end of a 13-year war in Afghanistan, and I suspect there are plenty of genuine unsung heroes out there who have not been recognised on any awards list.
Dr Martin Henry, Good Easter, Essex


I note elsewhere that 65 awards were made to the army: 56 went to officers, eight to warrant officers and one to a sergeant. And that despite the reporting from Afghanistan praising in the highest terms the performance of junior ranks.

Meanwhile, back with the List:

SIR – Am I the only person who wonders what, exactly, the worthy “Ms Clare Barnfather. Director (Grade 6), Stakeholder and Engagement Team and No 10 Relationship Manager ― Marketing, Department for Business Innovation and Skills. (London)” has done to earn an MBE in the honours list?
Andrew Given, Cranborne, Dorset

What a magnificently doolally job title. Not to mention that glorious and colourful surname (I rather like the notion that it could be a Scottish nickname, “Bairnsfather”, given to the alleged father of a child born out of wedlock).

However, this is my favourite missive of the day:

Arise, United Kingdom

SIR – I can see a time when everyone will have a degree and everyone will have an “honour”.
David Blackford, Seaview, Isle of Wight

Wonderful.

Mind you, many “ordinary” and unsung people up and down the land have also been recognised with honours for “services to the community”. And quite right, too. For too long they were ignored in favour of civil servants such as the “Stakeholder and Engagement Team and No 10 Relationship Manager ― Marketing, Department for Business Innovation and Skills. (London)”, who mostly couldn’t organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery.

Having said that, those of us who have lived our lives within a community will recognise that the people who really do serve that community never do so for public reward.

Indeed, when such people do me a personal favour or an unexpected good turn, and I present them with a bottle or a box of chocolates in appreciation, they are ― not offended, but rather insist that “you really shouldn’t, but a hundred thousand thanks anyway”.

Last word

Apropos my opening paragraph, another letter from the Telegraph:

This year

SIR – Anybody who insists on calling this year twenty-fifteen will leave many of us ― especially members of the Armed Forces ― confused. To us, twenty-fifteen is a quarter past eight in the evening.
Richard J C English, King’s Lynn, Norfolk

I know what Richard English means. When I hear ten-sixty-six I find myself wondering why they don’t say six minutes past eleven, like everyone else. On the other wrist, and as a Jan Bradley of Kineton points out, “nobody thinks the First World War started at 7.14pm, or the Second World War kicked off just before twenty to eight in the evening”.

Sigh. Yes of course, it’s an exceedingly silly letter from Richard English. I mean, context is everything.

If someone can’t differentiate between the year and the time of day when twenty-fifteen is mentioned, then the nation really is as dumbed-down, child-like and stupid as the media suggests.

And anyway, don’t members of the Armed Forces add the word hours” if they’re telling the time?

Doolallyness is alive and well and present everywhere on this, the first day of twenty-fifteen. And phew, thank goodness, otherwise I’d be a lost lamb in the wilderness. 

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                                                                   Previously on Look You...
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Dec
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Nov
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Oct
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Sep
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Aug
                                                                   Smile of the day 2014: Jul
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Jun
                                                                   Smile of the day 2014: May
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Apr              Smile of the day 2013: Dec
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Mar              Smile of the day 2013: Nov
                                                                   Smile of the day 2014: Feb              Smile of the day 2013: Oct
                                                                 
 Smile of the day 2014: Jan           Smile of the day 2013: Sep
                                                                                                                                       Smile of the day 2013: Aug
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Jul
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Jun
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: May
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Apr
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Mar
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Feb

                                                                                                                                       Smile of the day 2013: Jan
                                                                                                                                       Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)

Previous 2012 smiles: Smile of the day 2012 (Jan-Mar) .. Smile of the day 2012 (Apr-Jun) .. Smile of the day 2012c (Jul-Sep) .. Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)
Previous 2011 smiles:  Smile of the Day 2011 (Jan-Jun) .. Smile of the Day 2011 (Jul-Sep) .. Smile of the day 2011 (Oct-Dec)
                   Home

 Previously: Smile of the Day 2010
Home   2010 (Jan to Jun)   2009   2008   March to May '07   June to Aug '07   Sep to Dec '07


Reception

You are here, way out west,
at Llandeilo

aka Llandampness
aka Dodgy City

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Previously on LOOK YOU......


Smile of the day 2014: Dec
Smile of the day 2014: Nov
Smile of the day 2014: Oct
Smile of the day 2014: Sep
Smile of the day 2014: Aug
Smile of the day 2014: Jul
Smile of the day 2014: Jun
Smile of the day 2014: May
Smile of the day 2014: Apr
Smile of the day 2014: Mar
Smile of the day 2014: Feb
Smile of the day 2014: Jan
Smile of the day 2013: Dec
Smile of the day 2013: Nov
Smile of the day 2013: Oct
Smile of the day 2013: Sep
Smile of the day 2013: Aug
Smile of the day 2013: Jul
Smile of the day 2013: Jun
Smile of the day 2013: May

Smile of the day 2013: Apr
Smile of the day 2013: Mar
Smile of the day 2013: Feb

Smile of the day 2013: Jan
Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)
Smile of the day 2012c (Jul-Sep)
Smile of the day 2012 (Apr-Jun)
Smile of the day 2012 (Jan-Mar)

Smile of the day 2011 (Oct-Dec)
Smile of the Day 2011 (Jul-Sep)
Smile of the Day 2011 (Jan-Jun)

Smile of the Day 2010
2010 (Jan to Jun)
2009

2008
Sep to Dec '07

June to Aug '07
March to May '07

As it was in the beginning:
ST DAVID'S DAY, 2007

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Postcards from my Square Mile @
smile
Updated: 11/08/2013

Here's lookin' at you @
400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 08/06/2013


What A Gas @
400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 17/05/2009

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